is the united states efforts to promote democracy in the middle east desirable?
Debate Rounds (3)
It is because I agree with Sinclair Lewis that fascism comes in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy. I stand firmly resolved the United States efforts to promote democracy in the Middle East are not desirable.
My value is justice, defined as giving each person his/her due. We give people their due by guaranteeing them certain rights, and upholding human dignity. Therefore, the most just action achieves the criterion of human dignity. Throughout this case I will argue that allowing the US to intervene in internal political processes of other countries to promote democracy creates a sense of The American Empire and imperialism which leads to gross harms to civil liberties, and violations of human dignity.
Contention 1: US intervention imperialist:
Terry Nardin 05 writes about what rhetoric the US uses to justify these interventions and the eerie similarity to imperialist rhetoric of the past:
In the old literature of empire, humanitarianism was invoked to justify the supposed responsibility of an imperial power operating at the margins of the civilized world to uphold the standards of civilized morality by suppressing cannibalism, human sacrifice, and other barbaric practices. In today"s rhetoric of empire, it is the barbarity of tyranny and terrorism that threaten these standards and that must be countered, in the name of humanity, by the exercise of imperial power. In the old literature of empire, colonial rule was rationalized as providing backward peoples the benefits of civilization: public order, public health, modern communications, economic development, and eventually constitutional rule. The new literature of empire rationalizes intervention in similar terms. Most of the old justifications for empire are close to the surface in current understandings of America"s mission.
Nardin 05 continues that allowing the US justification of intervention leads to the justification of an American empire. He says:
Aiming to reshape the world according to the prescriptions of a universal morality marks a policy that is revolutionary as well as imperial. It is revolutionary in aiming to destroy governments that do not meet its test of legitimacy, and in flouting and undermining international laws and institutions that stand in the way of its democratic mission. When the government that pursues such policies wields the hegemonic power, to redefine democracy promotion as regime change it is to rationalize a world order in which "sovereignty"" the highest, most independent, supreme rule, is exercised by that government alone. It provides an ideological rationale for American empire.
Contention 2: Imperialism leads to the dehumanization of others and in turn more violence, and war. It also leads to lack of accountability to its citizens and a decrease in democracy.
Bandow 06 writes that imperialism leads to war:
(Doug, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute "A Foreign Policy of Fools," http://www.antiwar.com... Accessed: July 01 5 " 19 " 06)
The policy of promiscuous interference and intervention makes war, at least war with America, more likely. If China attacks Taiwan, if Russia battles a former dependent, if Middle Eastern neighbors tangle, Washington promises to be there. Threatening war with America might discourage the parties from risking a fight, but if conflict comes the U.S. will be in the middle. Moreover, America makes often ancient quarrels harder to solve by encouraging friendly parties to be more recalcitrant. After all, Washington always inserts itself as an ally of one of the parties, never as a disinterested observer. And why compromise if you have a superpower at your side? Although America would be unlikely to lose any such war, the consequences nevertheless would be horrendous.
Charles Maier 06 writes about violence associated with these imperialist aspirations and how each citizen and policymaker of the empire will dehumanize the individuals that are being ruled upon:
Charles S. Maier Professor of history at Harvard University 2006 Among Empires: American Ascendancy and Its Predecessors First Harvard University Press paperback edition pp. 19-20
Empires are about civilizing missions, the diffusion of cultural styles, the propagation of world religions, the suppression of practices perceived as barbaric"such as human sacrifice and suttee. Occasionally they are about bringing peace and the rule of law or defending what we have defined as freedom. But they are also about violence and bloodshed. Historians will rightly resist generalization as an impediment to understanding. But at the beginning it is worth recalling that imperial enterprises claim their toll of those who resist and often those who are merely in the way. Sometimes the bloodshed is far away and not very visible. Populations at home lose track of the children and adults killed inadvertently every few days by imperial enforcement. Television viewers become numbed to the images of women keening with strange cries, of burning huts or gutted houses. Those who are generous contribute funds to give victims prosthetics and restore their scarred faces. It might be objected that many empires, are built on violence. But the ambition of the empire, its territorial agenda, and its problematic frontiers create an intimate and recurring bond with the recourse to force. Fire and violence have always been the price of keeping resistance at bay: witness the refractory Germanic tribesmen across the Rhine barrier or Jewish fanatics in Judea in the first centuries after the Roman conquests; Protestant fanatics in the churches and deltas of the Spanish Netherlands; "red skinned" resistors in the American plains and all the strangely clad populations of African jungles, the Indian Punjab, and even today"s Fallujah. Distancing is key. It is easy and psychologically necessary to look away from violence erupting at the periphery. Empires depend upon distance and, in modern times at least, rendering violence remote. But violence there will always be: it is part of the imperial minimum. The lifeblood of empires is blood. Certainly the blood of those ruled; sometimes the blood of those ruling. The task for the policy maker is to decide how much blood can be justified in the pursuit of any given political aspiration, even one that seems lofty.
Bandow 06 adds that citizens on the home front will make a sacrifice too:
Finally, and perhaps most ironically, attempting to be a democratic empire ensures that we will be less democratic " or certainly less free, to be more accurate " at home. The Bush administration"s nomination as CIA head of Gen. Michael V. Hayden, former director of the National Security Agency and responsible for the Bush administration"s illegal warrantless spying program, is emblematic of this process. Empire abroad can be sustained only by empire at home. The national security state must grow, individual liberties diminish. We spy on you, search your bodies and cars, restrict what the media can tell you, and, of course, mislead you and lie to you.
Contention 3: American Civil Liberties are declining
In my last contention I quoted an article from 2006 that predicted the American civil liberties would begin to decline due to our imperialism. At the time he was only able to reference the Bush administrations unwarranted spying program, which has been continued in the Obama administration. In this contention I intend to shed light on the continuing decline of American civil liberties in more recent years.
PBS December 7, 2012 "Are we becoming a police state? Five things that have civil liberties advocates nervous " by Sal Gentile
In the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, the military is allowed to detain without a trial any American citizen accused of being a terrorist, or of supporting terrorists who plot attacks against the United States. The ACLU called this clear 6th amendment violation "an extreme position that will forever change our country." In 2011 the Obama administration decided to target radical Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen, for killing. Awlaki, who was born in New Mexico, was killed in an American missile strike in September of 2011; the ACLU has criticized the targeted killing program as blatantly violating the Fifth Amendment, which guarantees that no American citizen shall "be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." Many domestic law enforcement agencies are now using drones to conduct covert surveillance on American soil. Drones are already used to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border, but now many police departments across the country are using drones in other types of police actions, like hunting fugitives, finding missing children and monitoring protest movements. These drones, advocates note, can not only monitor large urban expanses, they can also use artificial intelligence to "seek out and record certain types of suspicious behavior," whatever that may be. The Orlando police, for example, initially requested two spy drones to help police the Republican National Convention, before changing their minds for budgetary reasons. Some police officials have even openly discussed arming the spy planes with "non-lethal weapons" like Tasers or bean bag guns. These drones, and other tactics imported from battlefield to American soil, are a clear example of how American imperialism has threatened core protections guaranteed to American citizens by the Constitution in the name of counter terrorism. The erosion of these protections has been supported by both Democrats and Republicans alike. And, as the ACLU put it, the debate over these tactics "goes to the very heart of who we are as Americans." Clearly theses imperialistic wars are degrading civil rights here in the U.S. and leading to constant violations of human dignity. The end result is clearly undesirable.
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